Both AT&T and Mint Mobile offer customers great service and coverage, making it tough to pick between the two. AT&T is one of the big three carriers in the U.S., while Mint Mobile is an MVNO on T-Mobile's network. Mint Mobile offers four prepaid cell phone plans that must be purchased in three, six, or 12-month increments, whereas AT&T has more plans to choose from with a range of unlimited plans, prepaid plans, and even MVNO options. Though Mint Mobile is one of the best cell phone plans you can get today, it's not for everyone, and your decision should be based on which carrier gives you the best coverage and which plan suits your needs. Here's how these carriers compare.
AT&T vs. Mint Mobile: What's the difference?
The main difference between AT&T and Mint Mobile is the network they use and the types of plans they offer, though both are great choices if you're seeking an excellent 5G cell phone plan. AT&T, which uses the AT&T network, has three core postpaid unlimited plans and offers multi-line discounts for families along with several perks included in each plan. Mint Mobile is a bit different and likes to keep things simple by offering only four plans on T-Mobile's network that you pay for upfront in three, six, or 12-month increments. The more months you sign up for, the more affordable your plan gets. It's a great way to save money on your cell phone bill while still taking advantage of one of the best wireless carriers in the U.S.
|Minimum term||1 month||3 months|
Though T-Mobile has vastly improved over the years and has thus far built out the largest 5G network in the nation today, AT&T still has a solid reputation for great coverage across the country, and it's home to one of the most expansive LTE networks. It's also making strides to expand its 5G network with blazing fast 5G download speeds.
Speaking of network speed, you can count on always getting the network's best premium data speeds with AT&T. If you go with Mint Mobile's unlimited plan instead, you'll see reduced speeds once you've used up 35GB, though most of us will never reach that. Also, because Mint Mobile is an MVNO on T-Mobile's network, direct T-Mobile customers will always be prioritized when there's heavy traffic on the network, but again most of us probably won't notice and can always fall back on Wi-Fi.
AT&T vs. Mint Mobile: AT&T plans
AT&T offers several cell phone plans ranging from unlimited to prepaid to MVNO options such as Cricket Wireless. You should always check your coverage before signing up, as well as whether you might have a potential discount available through your employer, school, or organization.
The best AT&T cell phone plans are its core unlimited cell phone data plans, which includes AT&T Unlimited Elite, Unlimited Extra, and Unlimited Starter. For a single line on the Starter plan, you can expect to pay $65 per month with an AutoPay and paperless billing discount (plus taxes and fees). The moment you sign up for more lines, your monthly bill drops. So if you sign up for four lines, you now owe $35 per month per line ($140 total).
If you were hoping to get some premium data and hotspot data, which isn't included with the Starter plan, then paying a bit extra for the Extra and Elite plans might be worth it to you. With AT&T, you're fortunately able to mix and match plans, so every single member of the family can pick which plan suits them best. For example, dad can get the Elite plan, while Mom and Jacob go with the Starter plan. Everyone wins.
In addition to unlimited talk, text, and data, all of AT&T's unlimited plans include unlimited international texting to 120+ countries as well as unlimited talk, text, and data in Mexico and Canada. As a new promotion, you'll also get 6 months of free access to Stadia Pro, or Google's game streaming service. Just in case free games every month don't tempt you, an HBO Max subscription is included with the top Unlimited Elite plan. It's the most expensive plan coming in at $85 per month for a single line, but it's the only plan that will get you HD streaming if that's something you're interested in, along with 30GB of hotspot data, so you can stay connected wherever you go.
If you know that you don't need unlimited data, AT&T offers cheaper options such as its $50 per month 4GB plan, which still includes a lot of the same features as the unlimited plans and multi-line discounts. And if you rather go with a prepaid phone plan, AT&T has some tempting options, such as its 12-month 8GB plan for $25 per month (with HD streaming included).
AT&T vs. Mint Mobile: Mint Mobile plans
Unlike other carriers, Mint Mobile doesn't try to overwhelm you with features that you don't actually need in a cell phone plan. So if you're trying to save some money on your phone bill, it's an outstanding MVNO to consider. Mint uses T-Mobile's 4G LTE and 5G network, so you'll likely get fantastic service, but it's always wise to check your coverage before signing up.
Each Mint Mobile plan comes with unlimited nationwide talk, text, and data, free international calls to Mexico and Canada, and 5GB of mobile hotspot data. You have the choice between 4GB, 10GB, 15GB, and unlimited data, though you'll never actually be cut off when you reach your monthly allotment. Rather, you'll see your data speeds slow down. If you happen to use more data than usual one month, you can add on 1GB or 3GB for a respective $10 and $20 extra. And if you're on the unlimited plan, you have up to 35GB of high-speed data before things slow down.
|3 months (introductory price)||$15/mo. ($45)||$20/mo. ($60)||$25/mo. ($75)||$30/mo. ($90)|
|3 months||$25/mo. ($75)||$35/mo. ($105)||$45/mo. ($135)||$40/mo. ($120)|
|6 months||$20/mo. ($120)||$25/mo. ($150)||$35/mo. ($210)||$35/mo. ($210)|
|12 months||$15/mo. ($180)||$20/mo. ($240)||$25/mo. ($300)||$30/mo. ($360)|
Though Mint Mobile doesn't offer multi-line discounts and isn't the best family plan out there, it does let you save by buying in bulk. It's an ideal plan if you need a single line and you're able to pay for a few months upfront, with the largest savings coming in when you sign up for 12 months. For 12 months on the unlimited plan, you'll pay $30 per month plus taxes and fees, or just $15 per month if you opt for the 4GB plan. Keep in mind that your monthly bill will go up unless you sign up for 12 months after your three-month introductory offer.
Though you can call Mexico and Canada for free with any Mint Mobile plan, you'll have to pay extra to reach other countries. International roaming is also available by adding a credit of $5, $10, or $20 to your UpRoam account, but if you plan on using your phone a lot while overseas, it's best to consider other options.
Another cool feature that comes with Mint is unliMINTed, which will track your data usage over the month and suggest a cheaper plan if it turns out that you're actually wasting data (and money). If all of this sounds like a good fit for what you're looking for, but you would love to test out Mint Mobile before committing, here's how to get a free Mint Mobile SIM card for your phone for a free 7-day trial. But if you go ahead and sign up, there's also a 7-Day money-back guarantee during which you can cancel at any time.
AT&T vs. Mint Mobile: Which phones will work?
Whichever carrier you decide to go with, you won't have much trouble finding a phone you like that is compatible with each network. Being one of the largest carriers in the U.S., AT&T has tons of phones to pick from on its website but, if you need help, these are some of the best AT&T phones to consider.
If you're planning on joining Mint, these are the best phones to use with Mint Mobile. This includes popular Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, but Mint's website has several other options. If you're planning on bringing your own device, you can easily check for compatibility by typing in your IMEI number on Mint's compatibility checker. As long as your phone is an unlocked GSM-network device that supports 4G LTE and VoLTE and was purchased in the past few years, there should be no issue.
AT&T vs. Mint Mobile: Which one should you get?
If you live in an area that gets great AT&T and T-Mobile coverage, picking the best carrier for you depends on which plan suits you best. If you need a lot of high-speed data, want to stream HD videos, and could benefit from more than 5GB of hotspot data, then AT&T's Unlimited Elite Plan is the best pick. If your entire family needs a new cell phone plan, then going with AT&T might be worthwhile since you can take advantage of multi-line discounts and mix and match plans.
Mint Mobile, on the contrary, is hands-down the cheaper option and the best choice for you if you're hoping to save some money on your phone bill. T-Mobile is a great network to be on, and you'll get 5G access with each plan. Though you won't get all the perks that come with an AT&T unlimited plan, you'll still get unlimited data for a fantastic price. Just be sure you're able to pay for 12 months upfront, so you lock in the best deal.
Enjoy all the perks
Mix and match your cell phone plans and take advantage of AT&T's multi-line discounts, all while staying connected with 5G access and premium data.
Pay for what you need
Never spend money on data you're not using when you sign up for one of Mint Mobile's four data plans on T-Mobile's vast 4G LTE and 5G network.
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